Housing grant could lead to new development in the West End, residents want input

CINCINNATI -- The Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority is hoping to get a grant that would reform the Stanley Rowe Complex in the West End. Some residents of the towers say they’ve heard it before. 

"Couple years ago, we received a notice where Stanley Rowe was going to be torn down by October of the year, we got it about this time. People started panicking," Stanley Rowe Tower Resident Vida Manuel said. 

This month, they got CMHA notices about a meeting to discuss Housing and Urban Development’s choice neighborhoods planning grant. 

“Typically, these grants do lead to demolish,” said Josh Spring of the Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition. 

If awarded, the Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority can develop a transformation plan for Stanley Rowe. They have $5 million available with awards ranging from $350,000 to $1.3 million. The application says the housing goal is to replace distressed public and assisted housing with high-quality mixed-income housing. The replacement is supposed to be one for one. 

“I’m sure there are significant improvements needed that cost a lot of money,” Spring said.

“They haven’t even replaced the housing that they’ve taken away,” Manuel said.

With the West End being the new home of FC Cincinnati, the recently-awarded Major League Soccer franchise, the Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority decided to apply for the grant two days after the announcement. Stanley Rowe is only a half mile away from the anticipated FC Cincinnati location, and that could be an advantage in getting the grant, according to the CMHA. 

In a statement released to WCPO, the Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority said, "HUD likes to see local investment in communities where assisted housing exists when it considers where grants will be awarded."

FC Cincinnati already has options on several nearby CMHA parcels. Residents just want to make sure they get a say. 

“We would love to work with CMHA,” Manuel said. 

There is community support for the grant application from the City of Cincinnati, West End Community Council, LISC and others. Twelve housing authorities around the country applied for the grant. The awards should be announced in October. 

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